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poems

poem

A bookkeeping man,
tho one sure to knock on wood,
and mostly light

at loose ends—my friend
who is superstitiously funny, & always
sarcastic—save once,

after I’d told him
about Simone’s first time
walking—a toddler,

almost alone, she’d

poem

Your eye moving

left to right across

the plowed lines

looking to touch down

on the first

shoots coming up

like a frieze

from the dark where

pale roots

and wood-lice gorge

on mold.

Red haze atop

the far trees.

A two dot

poem

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade

texts

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

In April 2014 A Poet’s Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, “This book—one person’s work, a poet’s glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works.” Each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch’s new book. 

nocturne     A night scene. John Donne was the first English poet to employ the term nocturnal to designate a genre in “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, being the shortest day” (1633). Donne sets his poem at midnight (“’Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s”) and creates an elegy on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, by borrowing from the night offices of the Roman Catholic canonical hours. In early church writings, the term nocturnes (

text
Essays
1991

I celebrate myself
And what I shall assume you shall assume
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul
I lean and loafe at my ease … observing a spear of summer grass.

 

If you put the thoughts expressed in these opening lines of “Song of Myself” into ordinary speech, they are rather flat and uninteresting:

I myself am what I am celebrating; and everything that I am, you are also, since you and I are both made out of the same materials I’m really taking it easy, lying around and communing with my soul, while I look at a blade of grass.

Whitman’s lines don’t rhyme and they have no regular meter. There must be other things about them that make them so interesting and suggestive and exciting to read. These things, of course, are the words and the ways Whitman puts them together. By looking closely at these words and uses, one may be able to get closer to the mystery of poetry, of Whitman’s in any

text
Essays
2008

All the Beat Generation writers occupy a contested space in conversations about American literature. The creators and guardians of the modernist canon dismissed Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs as subliterary, mere popular culture icons, vacuous self-promoters, and even inciters of juvenile delinquency.

As Norman Podhoretz wrote in "The Know-Nothing Bohemians," his 1958 attack on the Beats in Partisan Review, "On the Road and The Subterraneans are so patently autobiographical in content that they become almost impossible to discuss as novels." Podheretz grants the Beats great, albeit negative, influence when he claims that "juvenile crime can be explained partly in terms of the same resentment against normal feeling and the attempt to cope with the world that lies behind Kerouac and Ginsberg." These attacks, along with the pop-culture image of the beatnik—as embodied by the iconic, goatee-wearing slacker Maynard G. Krebs—have

books

book
Textbook
2015
book
Poetry Book
2014
Citizen: An American Lyric
book
Poetry Book
2013